Red wine and too much alcohol is just one of the things you should avoid when you have tinnitus.

For those who don’t have tinnitus, there aren’t many conditions more complex to comprehend. That’s because unless you’re afflicted with tinnitus, you won’t see, feel or hear the symptoms in the same way you would other conditions.

Tinnitus is a very real and extremely challenging experience for the almost 50 million Americans who have it. Tinnitus is best characterized as ringing in the ears, but the American Tinnitus Association says, it can present sufferers with whistling, hissing, swooshing, clicking, and buzzing. Maybe the most disheartening part of tinnitus is that these noises aren’t perceptible by others, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, depression and delayed diagnosis.

While that 50 million number is big, it’s even more staggering when put in the context that it means about 15 percent of the general public struggles with tinnitus. A report put out by the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that 2 million of those individuals experience symptoms that are debilitating and extreme while another 20 million have what’s classified as burdensome and chronic tinnitus.

There’s a common connection between loss of hearing and tinnitus, which is why people frequently turn to hearing aids to augment their hearing and to drown out the ringing. While a hearing aid has proven to be a reliable method of minimizing the symptoms linked with tinnitus, there are behavioral changes you can make to decrease the ringing.

Here are 10 things to stay away from if you have tinnitus:

  • Infections; There’s a long-running commentary about the need to cure the common cold, specifically because a lingering cold can quickly change into a sinus infection. Infections in both the ears and sinus have been known to intensify tinnitus, so be certain you’re doing everything you can to control your exposure to infections.
  • Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can harm your blood pressure. What’s more, it can shrink the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
  • Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you should get your eight hours of sleep each night, she wasn’t joking. Sleep is another crucial aspect of a healthy life that offers a wide variety of benefits, including helping to avoid triggers of tinnitus.
  • Excess earwax; There’s no doubting that earwax is helpful in the grand scheme of how your ears work. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this sludge that we hate. That said, too much accumulation can cause tinnitus to get worse. Your doctor may be able to help you relieve some of the buildup and provide prevention tips to make sure it doesn’t accumulate to a dangerous level again.
  • Loud noises; It may be obvious but the noises you’re hearing internally can be exacerbated by loud noises. If a situation appears where you will be exposed to loud noises, be careful. This includes construction sites, concerts, and loud restaurants. Consider shielding your ears with earplugs if you can’t steer clear of the noise. Earplugs can be especially helpful for people whose job involves working around loud machinery.
  • Hazardous blood pressure levels; If you want to keep your tinnitus in check you should keep track of your blood pressure which can also help protect you from other illnesses. It’s significant to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can worsen tinnitus, so you should be diligent about regularly checking your blood pressure.
  • Caffeine; Here’s yet another influencer of blood pressure that can cause a rise in levels. You will probably notice a change in sleeping habits if you consume too much caffeine.
  • Jaw issues; If you’re having pain in your jaw, you should already be consulting a doctor, but particularly if you also have tinnitus. Since the jaw and ears share components like nerves and ligaments, minimizing jaw pain might have an effect on your tinnitus.
  • Particular medicines; Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be really good at soothing pain, but they may actually increase your tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication such as prescription cancer drugs or antibiotics. But before you quit taking a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should schedule a consultation.
  • Alcohol; Your cholesterol and heart health can be positively affected by drinking a small glass of wine each day, or so the old saying goes. But with regards to alcohol and tinnitus, you can have too much of a good thing. Drinking too much alcohol raises your blood pressure, which makes the ringing more evident for some people.

You can take back your life and manage your tinnitus symptoms even though there is no official cure. You may be surprised in the changes in your overall health and your tinnitus symptoms if you try these 10 suggestions. If these don’t help, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.